Tuesday, June 23, 2015

10 Google Drive Hacks for Education

As classrooms use Google Apps more regularly, they'll begin to come up with more efficient ways to work and share. Some of these ideas may already be a part of your routine.


1. Keyboard Shortcuts

The mouse is great, but it will eat you up if you have to produce a lot of work quickly, especially if you're making comments on multiple student docs.

Ctrl C is copy and Ctrl V is paste. These are very common, but don't forget to save your work with Ctrl S (unless Google does it for you). 

But the star of this show is the comment shortcut – Ctrl Alt M. Why this one? If you've ever had to mark 120 two-page essays and make comments, you'll know exactly why this is the shortcut for teachers to know. 


2. Comment Text Formatting

Speaking of comments, you can stylize your comment text with italics, bold, or strike through. Stylizing comments makes it easier to read more comments in a shorter amount of time. Plus, you can impress your coworkers during the next meeting. 


3. Share Folder Links 

Don't make sharing documents more than it needs to be. Make a folder just for sharing files with students and provide access via link with view or edit options, depending on what you need them to do. It's like a wormhole to their work space without having to go through all the options every time.

I shared my classwork folders via link through Google Classroom because my students already had to sign in. It wasn't like anyone in the world could access the folder. Classroom provided a reasonable layer of security.


4. Use Docs for Project Plans

Not finished with a lesson plan or project requirements? Share the link to the Google Doc anyway. Live links take away the need to update a website manually every time there's a change. 

This past year, I wrote the standards in question format into a Doc and linked readings, images, videos, and websites. It worked so well that I used the unit doc instead of a slide presentation.

Here's a unit menu for the Post-Classical Period.

5. Use Tables for Cooperative Learning

Use one doc for your whole class. Insert a table that allows individuals or groups to make their contribution without typing in anyone else's space.


6. Edit Photos in Drawing

Drawing isn't Photoshop, but it's quick and good enough. I have the Adobe Suite and prefer Drawing because it almost always has what I need. 


7. Flip Your Classroom with Drive

Is YouTube not available to your students at school? 

Upload videos to Drive and share the link. Better yet, provide the link on a Doc that has guiding questions for discussion or note-taking (see #4). The videos will play in Drive. 


8. Table of Contents 

I used to make a separate menu document for each unit. It had guiding questions by standard, images, and links to websites and readings. Now, I make one document with a Table of Contents that sends users to the right place.   

  1. Insert a table of contents.
  2. Add headings to locations you want students to access
  3. Update the table of contents and the link to the heading appears. 

9. Use Slides Beyond Traditional PPT

Slides is so much more than Google's version of PPT. Here's 10 ways to use Slides

10. Share a URL as an Automatic Copy

The last chunk of text on a doc URL is "edit." Change "edit" to copy on the doc URL and share it if you want to ensure that the recipient makes a copy. When the "copy" link is clicked, users will be prompted to make a copy.